Empire of Brazil
Império do Brasil (Portugese)
Motto: "Independência ou Morte!"
"Independence or Death"
Anthem: Hino da Independência
|Capital||Rio de Janiero|
|Government||Parliamentary constitutional monarchy|
|Chamber of Deputies|
|8,337,218 km2 (3,219,018 sq mi)|
Brazil (Portugese: Brasil; Portuguese pronunciation: [bɾaˈziw]), officially the Empire of Brazil (Portuguese: Império do Brasil), is the largest country in both South America and Latin America. At 8.5 million square kilometers (3.2 million square miles) and with over 211 million people, Brazil is the world's fifth-largest country by area and the sixth most populous. Its capital is Rio de Janiero, and its most populous city is São Paulo. The Empire is composed of the union of the 26 states and the Federal District. It is the largest country to have Portuguese as an official language and the only one in the Americas; it is also one of the most multicultural and ethnically diverse nations, due to over a century of mass immigration from around the world.
Bounded by the Atlantic Ocean on the east, Brazil has a coastline of 7,491 kilometers (4,655 mi). It borders all other countries in South America and covers 47.3% of the continent's land area. Its Amazon River basin includes a vast tropical forest, home to diverse wildlife, a variety of ecological systems, and extensive natural resources spanning numerous protected habitats. This unique environmental heritage makes Brazil one of 17 megadiverse countries, and is the subject of significant global interest and debate regarding deforestation and environmental protection.
Brazil was inhabited by numerous tribal nations prior to the landing in 1500 of explorer Pedro Álvares Cabral, who claimed the area for the Portuguese Empire. Brazil remained a Portuguese colony until 1808, when the capital of the empire was transferred from Lisbon to Rio de Janeiro. In 1815, the colony was elevated to the rank of kingdom upon the formation of the United Kingdom of Portugal, Brazil and the Algarves. Independence was achieved in 1822 with the creation of the Empire of Brazil, a federal state governed under a constitutional monarchy and a parliamentary system. The ratification of the first constitution in 1824 led to the formation of a bicameral legislature, called the General Assembly. Pedro I was the first monarch of Brazil, and the monarch of Portugal as Pedro IV. He abdicated in Portugal 1826 to his eldest daughter Maria I. Unlike most South American Countries, Brazil had political stability, vibrant economic growth, constitutionally guaranteed freedom of speech, and respect for civil rights of its subjects, albeit with legal restrictions on women and slaves, the latter regarded as property and not citizens. The Empire's legislative was remarkably democratic for its time, alongside its provincial and local legislatures. The Empire entered a golden age under Pedro II, and became one of the regional powers of South America being victorious in several wars.
Brazil is classified as an upper-middle income economy by the World Bank and a Template:Developing country, with the largest share of global wealth in Latin America. It is considered an advanced emerging economy or a middle power in international affairs. On account of its international recognition and influence, the country is subsequently classified as an emerging power and a potential superpower by several analysts. Brazil is a founding member of the League of Nations, and the G20.
The word "Brazil" likely comes from the Portuguese word for brazilwood, a tree that once grew plentifully along the Brazilian coast. In Portuguese, brazilwood is called pau-brasil, with the word brasil commonly given the etymology "red like an ember", formed from brasa ("ember") and the suffix -il (from -iculum or -ilium). As brazilwood produces a deep red dye, it was highly valued by the European textile industry and was the earliest commercially exploited product from Brazil. Throughout the 16th century, massive amounts of brazilwood were harvested by indigenous peoples (mostly Tupi) along the Brazilian coast, who sold the timber to European traders (mostly Portuguese, but also French) in return for assorted European consumer goods.
The official Portuguese name of the land, in original Portuguese records, was the "Land of the Holy Cross" (Terra da Santa Cruz), but European sailors and merchants commonly called it simply the "Land of Brazil" (Terra do Brasil) because of the brazilwood trade. The popular appellation eclipsed and eventually supplanted the official Portuguese name. Some early sailors called it the "Land of Parrots".